Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page
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Why caste still matters in India

Why caste still matters in India | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page | Scoop.it

INDIA’S general election will take place before May. The front-runner to be the next prime minister is Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party, currently chief  minister of Gujarat. A former tea-seller, he has previously attacked leaders of the ruling Congress party as elitist, corrupt and out of touch. Now he is emphasising his humble caste origins. In a speech in January he said 'high caste' Congress leaders were scared of taking on a rival from 'a backward caste'. If Mr Modi does win, he would be the first prime minister drawn from the 'other backward classes', or OBC, group. He is not the only politician to see electoral advantage in bringing up the subject: caste still matters enormously to most Indians."


Via Seth Dixon
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Lora Tortolani's curator insight, April 8, 2015 9:18 PM

I agree that until there are more jobs created for the people of India, the slower the caste will fade out.  Over time it will fade out eventually, but the creation of jobs and more social interaction will help the process move along faster.  

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 15, 2015 2:51 PM

It was interesting to read about Modi's run for prime minister- I recently read a TIME magazine article about him, his original platform, and his subsequent work in office- and to see so much of Obama's run for office in Modi's struggle. Modi's support among his own caste, traditionally one that has been discriminated against in Indian society, is not at all different from Obama's support among the African American community. It goes to show that, for all our differences, people are a lot more alike then we'd care to think. Beyond that, it was interesting to see how much power the old caste system continues to hold in Indian society, much like the issues with race that Americans continue to struggle with within our own society. Appeals to different castes have been employed successfully by politicians and other forms of media; I once read that the most popular Indian films are often love stories revolving around "forbidden love" between two members of different, opposite castes. In a society that is so rich and complex, with hundreds of different languages and beliefs, it is so easy for lines to be drawn and for differences to be focused upon in a negative light. Happily for India, it has come a long way to address these problems and to move forward. While not perfect, India's future looks bright.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 3:34 PM

i dont understand how a country like india that is mostly modern and on the world scale can still have such an ancient system of labeling people be such a prominent practice in their society, i hope modi gets elected so he can start to eliminate this

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Tea-plucking machines threaten Assam livelihoods

Tea-plucking machines threaten Assam livelihoods | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page | Scoop.it
Tea plucking machines are threatening the livelihoods of tea pickers in the Indian state of Assam, reports Mark Tully.

Via Seth Dixon
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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 11, 2014 4:42 AM

This article details how globalization is damaging the high-end tea industry of India. The Assam company, which produces high quality tea, is under pressure to mechanize their 100% human tea production due to competition. Vietnam, Kenya, and even other Indian companies produce significantly cheaper tea due to their willingness and ability to cut costs by using machines and paying their workers less. A cultural stigma toward tea workers is making hiring difficult for Assam, compounding the problems with competitors and forcing a switch to mechanization which will produce an inferior product.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 1, 2014 2:51 PM

This seems to work well for both the tea growers and the workers. The workers are compensated well and they have a job for life and the tea that is picked is of the highest quality. Unfortunately, most places on the planet go with the cheapest price, not the best quality, so I do not know how much longer this arrangement will be feasible.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 8:51 PM

In my town, we got rid of the old trash receptacle bins and in place we have one huge trash bin and one huge recycling bin. This has cut down the jobs immensely because now a machine just picks up the large bins. This is the same thing thats happening in India. There is now a machine that can do the humans jobs and will most likely take over for the tea picking people. Its unfortunate, but its how the world works.

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'I was 14 when I was sold'

'I was 14 when I was sold' | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page | Scoop.it
Laxmi's story of being kidnapped and trafficked in Nepal is not an isolated case but, as this graphical account shows, things are not always what they seem.

Via Seth Dixon
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Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 17, 2014 11:14 PM

It is sad to see the many different ways the poverty stricken and uneducated regions of the world are exploited, especially the children. Nepal is so poor that most of the recruiters for the predatory foreign networks are often locals who either take their relatives or abductees sent back to find a replacement. The animation helps add clarity and approachability to a bleak and difficult topic.

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 30, 2015 9:33 AM

It's heartbreaking to see the plight children living in other parts of the globe, making me all the more appreciative of my uneventful upbringing in the US. Child labor is a practice that many Americans associate with the 19th century, but it continues to be widespread in many parts of the world, as is the case in Nepal. Educational opportunities are few and far in between for many Nepalese, who's short-term financial struggles rob their children of long-term opportunities for success. Many are kidnapped from their homes, or sold by their families to pay off debt with skyrocketing interest rates. The same also holds true for young female sex workers, who suffer an enormous amount of physical and psychological harm at the hands of their kidnappers and their clients. Economic pitfalls and a lack of access to education helps to perpetuate this cycle of abuse, as people are unaware of their rights in addition to lacking the education to advance economically in their societies. The Nepalese national government and several international rights groups are hard at work to combat these harmful practices, but they are fighting an uphill battle against an illicit institution that has ingrained itself in Nepalese society and culture. Great strides are being made, but much still has to be done for the youth of Nepal.

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 5, 2016 8:22 AM

Teaching about human trafficking and child slavery can be very disconcerting and uncomfortable.  How much of the details regarding these horrific situations is age-appropriate and suitable for the classroom?  The BBC is reporting on events with sensitive stories to both give a human face to the story, while protecting the identity of under-aged victims (to read about the production of this comic, read Drawing the News.)  I encourage you to use your own discretion, but I find this comicbook format an accessible, informative and tasteful way to teach about human trafficking in South Asia to minors.  It is a powerful way to teach about some hard (but important) aspects of globalization and economics. 


As geographer Shaunna Barnhart says concerning this comic, "It moves from trafficking to child labor to pressures for migration for wage labor and the resulting injustices that occur. There's differential access to education, gender inequality, land, jobs, and monetary resources that leads to inter- and intra-country trafficking of the vulnerable. In the search for improved quality of life, individuals become part of a global flow of indentured servitude which serves to exploit their vulnerabilities and exacerbate inequalities and injustice. Nepali children 'paid' in food and cell phones that play Hindi music in 'exchange' for work in textile factories - cell phones that are themselves a nexus of global resource chains and textiles which in turn enter a global market - colliding at the site of child labor which remains largely hidden and ignored by those in the Global North who may benefit from such labor."


Tags: Nepal, labor, industry, economic, poverty, globalization, India.